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Know your credit report better

By Janet Lacey
Published: Monday, October 19th, 2009

A credit report is one of the most important documents that decide your financial future. It contains details regarding any and all of your financial transactions. It is also of extreme importance that you can read the document and understand it. You need to understand the nuances of this document and understand what each entry stands for. However, this is not a very easy task. The credit report, to a lay man, usually appears to be a jumble of numbers in columns and codes you cannot understand. This article tries to help you understand the credit report and get some control on your financial future.

Where can one get a credit report? A credit report is prepared by an agency. There are three such agencies in the United States. These include Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Your credit report can be obtained from any of these three agencies. There is a law stating that each customer is entitled to a free report from each of these three agencies. You can also go online and order credit reports. You can go the website Another option would be to call the number (877) 322-8228. There are many brochures regarding credit reports available today. Complete the form available behind the Annual Credit Report brochure. It is a better idea to order credit reports through the central agency. If you approach the agency directly, it might cost you.

The credit report one orders out is pretty similar to the information a friend can get off his system if he works for the bank. However, this report is not very easy to understand. The consumer credit reports you get from agencies have been altered to make it much easier for the common man to understand it. The agency will also have a lot more relevant information. The bank report will have information mostly related to the bank itself.  There are mainly four different divisions in your credit report. These include identifying information, credit history, public records and inquiries.

Identifying information is the information with which your identification is possible. These include your name and addresses. These include any past and present addresses you might have stayed or are staying in. They will also include your date of birth, telephone numbers and social security numbers. There is a possibility that there might be more than one security number listed. This is usually a bureaucratic mistake. The agency providing the information might have sent some incorrect information. It would also include your spouse’s name and details of employment.

The next and the most important part is the credit history section. This will contain details of any credit you might have had. Each entry will have the name of the creditor and the account number. The account number is usually scrambled to ensure safety and privacy. There would be other details including the date the account opened and the type of payments including the frequency and regularity. It holds details of the account holder and the names of all the owners. There might be a comment saying Charge off. A charge off is when a creditor has given up pressing for payment.

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